Today we hear some more thoughts from Steve, as he reflects on the excess happening in an around Bristol…
Over the past few days, I’ve been reflecting on contrasting lives…
Here in Bristol, especially on weekend evenings, the city’s streets are heaving with people ‘out for a good time’… the bars are crowded, the restaurants and food outlets appear pretty busy (I appreciate that some hospitality businesses are struggling to find staff and therefore continue to live with all the uncertainties of running a business). Clearly, a lot of people are spending a lot of money… and I suspect that many of them can’t really justify doing so… and, when the January bills arrive, won’t be able to.
It’s almost as if some people are burying their heads in the sand – ‘buy now, pay later’ (or not) – because they perhaps just can’t face the reality of what lies ahead.
I’ve been thinking about politicians who earn ridiculous amounts of money for giving a single speech… about a hedge fund manager who, last year, was paid more £1.5million a day in dividends.
There are so many such examples.
Meanwhile, around 14.5 million people are living in poverty in the UK, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s UK Poverty Profile 2022. That’s more than one in every five people. Of these, 8.1 million are working-age adults, 4.3 million are children and 2.1 million are pensioners.
In the UK, as we enter the challenging winter period, huge numbers of people are anxious about being able to cope with the so-called ‘cost of living crisis’. It’s affecting people right now – with food, energy, transport and mortgages costs having all increased quite alarmingly – but winter will inevitably bring even greater challenges.
Such worries will inevitably have severe implications for people’s mental and physical health. In many instances, it will put family relationships under great strain; some might end up losing their homes. Many simply don’t know how they’ll be able to cope and, if so, how long they’ll be able to cope for.
So, yes, this Advent will certainly be a time of waiting and anticipating… but perhaps, for many, not quite in the traditional or spiritual sense.